Chelsea v West Ham United: match preview

Having hammered a nail in the coffin of Liverpool’s “title race” (as if), he’s now been giggling every time he hears the words “Tottenham” and “Champions League” in the same sentence.

Here’s his look at Sunday’s trip to Stamford Bridge. Transport problems being what they are you may want to go early and stay in one of their hotels. They have two apparently...

Next up we move upstream along the Thames where we will be hosted by Chelsea. Kick-off is at 2pm and travel is going to be a right pain. The District Line is going to be closed past Embankment thus closing Fulham Broadway station. I fear I’m going to have to locate my sturdy walking boots for this one.

So Chelsea then. Well for years everyone was saying that if anything happened to Abrahamovic and the slightly suspect money he was running through the club there might be consequences and so it would seem.

Their operating loss in 2022/23 was a whopping £249million. The losses for PSR purposes were some £89million which is within the £105million that the rules allow. However, those figures take into account the sale of a couple of hotels for £76million.

But for that sale, the rules would have been breached with a serious points deduction being on the cards. The iffy thing about the hotel sale was the fact that it was sold to the Club’s parent company.

Asset sales don’t get taken into account in the Football League when looking at finances. Sheffield Wednesday tried something similar a while back by selling their ground to their owner, a move that cost them six points. However, a proposal that the same should apply in the top flight didn’t receive enough votes so it looks as if Chelsea have gotten away with it – for the time being.

You see, this time next season they won’t have the two hotels to sell and the proposed new spending cap rules, if approved, won’t kick in until 2025/26 which means that either they will face a points deduction next year or we will see a fire sale of players during the close season to cut the deficit enough to carry them through until there is another set of rules for them to try and dodge.

Daisy was overjoyed – if not surprised – that they had no action in the transfer window - they, more than most, being fearful of sanction. That was possibly a sensible move given that they laid out the better part of £400million in the summer with mixed results.

Nicholas Jackson, for example, has become notorious for his somewhat profligate nature in front of goal whilst £53million midfielder Lavio’s luck with injuries makes Kalvin Phillips look like he’s been carrying a shedload of four-leaf clover. The potential sanctions probably saved them from themselves.

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On the pitch this season they have been muddling through in mid-table. Their last 11 have seen them win six, draw four and lose just the one – the 5-0 tonking at an Arsenal sealing Arsenal’s likely second place (as opposed to third, which was the other option).

Their latest result, a 2-0 win over Spurs, was enough to take them into 8th place, above us by two points with a game in hand. A good time to pick up a double then, though they’re unbeaten in 17 at their hotel complex, which of course they don’t own, they would like to make that very clear apparently.

And so on to the Wild and Wacky World of Association Football. And, ever quick to join a party, the FA have finally issued Newcastle’s Sandro Tonali a ban for betting offences committed after he joined. The bizarre thing about that was that the offences appear to have been committed after the player attended an FA course on the evils of betting.

The excuse given for his subsequent lapse was that his English wasn’t good enough for him to understand. The two-month ban is suspended until the end of next season and will disappear if he can keep his nose clean over that period. Let’s hope that was explained to him in Italian.

Elsewhere, the trades descriptions people might just want to have a quiet word with Sky about their trailers for the forthcoming Liverpool v Spurs game, which is being billed as part of the “race for the title”. Yeah, right.

Congratulations to Leicester City for winning the Championship, replacing Sheffield United (ha ha). The unusual thing about the swap is that both sides are looking at likely points deductions as soon as they arrive in their new homes.

And so to us. Well despite their whining about the bizarre refereeing issue over Areola’s injury incident – a cock-up that was pure Anthony Taylor, they got more of the rub of the green with the officials as usual.

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It took Taylor 92 minutes to give Antonio a free-kick despite the constant illegal attentions he received. The best one was where Taylor managed not to see a shirt-pull, a trip and a final shove in the space of one three-second run.

And I’m not entirely sure there wasn’t a shout for a penalty right at the end as a cross was cut out. Certainly the players thought there was something in it but it was mysteriously ignored by the BBC when I got home to watch the highlights.

Liverpool were, for about two thirds of the game, not very good. Yes they had umpteen percent possession but giving them the ball was like giving a Tottenham supporter a book with no pictures in it. They simply hadn’t a clue what to do.

Yes, they had that spell straight after the resumption where they looked a bit sharper but even then they required a goal of such flukiness that if I were them I wouldn’t bother doing the lottery for the next three years or so, that being the amount of luck they used up in one go.

On the injury front, we are still sweating over the availability of Konstantinos Mavropanos and/or Nayef Aguerd. Either would be a blessing from a pace point of view given the state of Kurt Zouma’s knees and the effects of the passage of time on Oggy, bless him. Dinos is likely to be closer to a return given that he was said to be close last week.

And so to the prediction. Well, we need to be up for this one in exactly the same way as we weren’t in our last two London derbies. A win would, above all else, be hilarious but, even though for once it is they who will have been on the Thursday-Sunday treadmill, I think their home record may well assert itself here.

On that basis I’m going to plump for a stalemate. So, The £2.50 I was going to send into the Save The Pensioners Fund will instead be going on a 2-2 draw. Make it so Mr Winstone, make it so.

Enjoy the game!

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When Last We Met At The Stamford Bridge: Lost 2-1 (September 20222)

Antonio gave us the lead just after the hour. Chilwell’s equaliser was allowed to stand despite a player being offside right in front of Fabianski. Havertz converted a cross before a complete and utter travesty of a VAR decision stole what would have been a deserved point from us. It was the sort of decision that should have seen all involved joining the dole queue. Of course it didn’t. They probably goy a pay rise.

Referee: Andy Madley

Well surprise surprise. The idiot who gave the decision last time out at Stamford Bridget is still in a job. Part of my season ticket money ends up in his pocket. We deserve better – a blindfolded drunk sticking a pin in cards marked yes/no would at least have a 50-50 chance of getting something right. David Moyes described the decision as “scandalous”. He was wrong. What is scandalous is that officials this bad are allowed to remain in a job.

Danger Man: Cole Palmer

So named because Carlton Carlton would have been silly he has made light of the £40m they paid Man City for him. The accountants will be looking closely at his market value this summer.

Percy & Daisy’s Poser.

Last week’s poser provided the following conundrum:

A Liverpool drug dealer was put away for 13 years. But what was the vital piece of evidence that resulted in his conviction? Was A Liverpool drug dealer was put away for 13 years. But what was the vital piece of evidence that resulted in his conviction? Was it:

a) A block of stilton cheese;
b) A dustpan and brush set from the middle aisle at Lidl; or
c) A bottle of “not nearly as nice as HP” Daddie’s Sauce.:

Well done to Mrs Muriel Spofforth-Sphyganometer of Thorpe-Le-Soken who spotted that the answer was a) the stilton cheese. Apparently, Merseyside Plod spotted a photo of him holding a block of said cheesy comestible on some encrypted criminal site used to arrange dodgy deals. They were able to analyse the guys fingerprints and identify him from the photo.

This week we have this pleasing little missing words number from the My London website:

West London council sends bailiffs to chase unpaid council tax to property owned by XXX XXXXXXX

Good luck everybody!

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